HC Deb 23 November 1911 vol 31 cc1508-9

Every working or pumping shaft and every shaft in the course of being sunk shall be securely cased or lined, or otherwise made secure.


I beg to move, to leave out the word "Every," and to insert instead thereof the words "where the natural strata are not safe."

This Clause very properly provides that all shafts sunk shall be properly secured. If you bore through sound rock it may be the best casing itself, and would not require any other lining. My Amendment provides that where the natural strata is not safe there shall be proper lining or casing.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I hope the hon. Member will not press this Amendment, because I am quite sure all that is required is already covered by the Clause. We do not want to bring in any question whether natural strata is safe or not; all we want is security, and whether the sinking is through hard rock or not we want to see that it is secure. I am advised that Clause 38 provides that the shaft shall be secure, and that is all that is required.


If that is the interpretation, of course it meets my point.


When the Grand Committee accepted my Amendment on this point, I gave an instance of a case of sinking through rock in South Wales, where a large number of lives were lost owing to the sides not being properly protected. I understood from the Government that every shaft in the course of being sunk would have to be made secure. It could not be made secure unless it was properly lined after being bored. I hope the Solicitor-General for Scotland will tell us what the real meaning of the words in the Clause is. Is a shaft to be protected in the course of being sunk. The ground may be perfectly hard, but yet small pieces may fall off and kill people. I was down a shaft a short time ago, and I remarked to the manager of the mine that I did not think it wise to have the boring which was going on carried out without lining. He replied they never had an accident so hard was the rock, but only a few hours afterwards a piece of rock chipped off and fell down. That is not an isolated case; there are innumerable cases of that kind, and I think if the words of the Clause mean anything at all they must mean the proper securing of the shaft.


The answer to my hon. Friend's question, it seems to me, depends entirely upon the wall you have to protect. The answer, I think, is to be found in the first part of the Clause, "or otherwise made secure."

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.